2011 so far, for Bruce Chen:
What a refreshing start to the season Royals fans have in Bruce Chen. Not only is he giving us 5+ solid innings of low scoring play, he is giving us this in surprising fashion because most teams don’t believe he’s capable of such feats. “Chen is pitching tonight, going to be a breeze,” they probably say.
Well here is what I say to you, opposing teams:
Bruce Chen is going to shut you down. At least that’s what the numbers tell us. Let’s be honest…. he throws a roundabout, left handed fastball that is slower than molasses. There is really nothing unorthodox about the delivery except for the fact that it’s coming from a slight angle. But it’s the Major Leagues; you aren’t going to fool anyone with that delivery. He’s old, slow, and would struggle to find a slot on any other Major League roster. But with negativity aside, he’s statistically one of the best pitchers in the game… (Currently).
Just more proof that it takes the sharp mind over the sharp body to excel as a professional pitcher.
Chen is simply locating with ease, throwing groundballs, and executing the right pitches in the right situations. I’m not really sure if he is on a roll. I mean, I don’t think he has ever performed this way before. For the majority of his career he has been the equivalent of what his overall numbers tell: A pitcher who doesn’t get beaten around the field for you to cut him outright, nor a pitcher who will consistently throw seven innings of two run, six hit ball. His ERA typically floats around the mid fours, and you can get any outcome on any day- the perfect pitcher for the backend of your starting rotation. A great teammate in the clubhouse that rarely flaunts an ounce of ego, and isn’t bad enough or good enough to gain notoriety. He’s an unknown soldier if you will and the teams that have taken a chance with him are completely content with that notion.
It’s somewhat of a gamble- a game of roulette at the riverboat. You take your spins. You take your chances. If you have played before, you probably know the odds stray from your favor. In long-term exchange, you will lose. But it’s the short-term hope you hit big that makes you stay, salivate, and fumble through your chips like a circus clown.
It makes sense for the Royals. This is nothing more than another instance in which we can spot the desperate state of the team. Simply stated, this is an entire nation against a singular man. A poor man in his ways reaching out for a new life; one who stands steady on lady luck more so than ever before, in the harsh reality that life is now more a gamble than a battle through certainty.
The Royals remain quiet. They lose here and there. They win more often than not. But they remain quiet. The odds were not in their favor, high reward risks have been taken and gambles are paying off. In a dog eat dog world such as this, Major League teams have to take risks to get to the other side. It’s a necessity. For the past two decades the Royals have exhausted all options. They have tried EVERYTHING (in their power), except for what they are trying now. With their backs up against the wall, they face evil glares from the media, and raise many questions as they go about business out of the norm. It’s an outlasting battle cry we witness, and Bruce Chen illustrates this perfectly. Luckily for us, this battle cry is hitting on all cylinders and we are winning games from the risks we take. Precaution is a word no longer used in the Royals front office and I LOVE THAT.
Steal your bases with vigilance…
Keep confidence in your bust ridden draft picks…
Listen to your fan base…
Destruct the cancer signals…
And make undervalued and overlooked part of the project…
All in hopes of testing every equation possible to create a winning franchise, and knowing that if you are going down… you are going down swinging.